“I am..” a series about a feeling.

I published a preview on my facebook page about this series as I like to do to find out what people think. It didn’t take long to have people miss understand what the images were saying at all. ┬áSome took it as I was just my condition while others just could not understand the concept at all. This is normal and I am glad people are talking about the image. That means I am doing my job.

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For those interested in why this series has come about in my mind please read the Medical Criminals post on this blog and for those who are interested in the things I hope to achieve in this series strap yourselves in and enjoy the next instalment in my mind.

This series has been a full on process for something I was hoping would be a smaller project. I was originally planning on doing it as close to accurate as I could to real life.

Lesson one was learned right here. Just because it is accurate does not mean you will create an effective image. For example the board is not held by the person in the photo but is off to the side. While this is accurate information it creates a sense of space from the subject and I didn’t want that at all. I want the disability to ‘own’ the person so this needed to be changed.

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Lesson two was a close second. It is much easier to connect with models than with real sufferers. I wanted this series to be made up of people who suffer the illness mentioned and a lot of the time these people are not comfortable doing this kind of project until they have seen all the information and proof pictures for such a series. They take care due to the subject but the effect is so much more powerful with a diverse range. Oh and for the record kids can be interesting to work with but having treats or toys for them to play with after the shoot help lots.

Lesson three came in post production of the pilot image. I started editing and then realised that my polished format on the last series should not carry over to this series. I mean how often do you see a flawless prison photo? There is always slight washed out or slight dark photo, there is often little consistency in the type of people in the images and lets face it if the people pictured were perfect they would never have been caught. So how can I show this in my images? How about a botch image? The lines are not straight or measured properly, they don’t match, the illness name has been added in post production and done clearly so you can see the lack of truthfulness in each image.

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The series is not about the truth or about what outsiders see looking at a person with one of these illnesses. This series is about how a sufferer can feel about their illness. I do know not all of us fighting invisible illnesses think we are seen like this however I do know some of us at times do.

I am risking doing negative things to my artistic merit doing these things in lesson three but I believe that these changes for this particular series increase the message I am trying to send. Any artist could do these things yes but tell me what other artist has already?

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Medical Criminals

This post is a part of the upcoming “I am… ” Series by myself.

I am a massive fan of Lie To Me. I watch them on a regular basis and love picking the emotions the actors are challenged with portraying in a microsecond. I sometimes wish my mind would just settle on this one thing but alas I am not one of those kind of people. My brain starts drawing connections to my own life. Small at first, after all who normally finds things in common with criminals? The pain caused is kind of like the pain I feel from my own medical ailments, people who they don’t mean to hurt get hurt, the lack of ‘normal’ emotion in their faces due to concentration and these are just the start.

 

Wow looking at these things I don’t feel much different to a criminal. But wait, I am not in jail or waiting on a criminal charge so why do I feel like this? There is a very simple answer here. I feel like this because I am disabled. Not in a chair like a paraplegic or even visible like a missing limb, no. My disability is invisible so this means I am quite often seen as average. I could, for every thought, be replaced by those people in the crime shows. Replace the people the criminal minds hurt with friends and family then replace the detectives and policemen with a range of medical staff designed to help me. After all a diagnosis is almost the same as incarceration. That board with their number and name is just the same as our diagnosis label. The only difference is we are not shown the way to others like us or given meals close to us. We are not put on a register that other people can see or publicised by the papers. We are just given this label and left to flounder around in hope we will find our feet.

So you see we are alike even though we are worlds apart. This leads me to ask however what would people think if medical illnesses, both common and uncommon are displayed like the sufferers see them? Something that should be shut up before it destroys their lives and that of their family.